It wasn't the result that Aston Villa wanted against a pretty bad Sunderland team, but Villa fans have to be encouraged by the dominating display the team had at Villa Park on Saturday.
Scott Sinclair bagged two goals, Ashley Westwood continued his good form, Carles Gil made a Premier League appearance for Aston Villa for the first time this season and even Alan Hutton looked pretty solid. One spectacular goal by Sunderland and one mistake by Villa meant the spoils were shared in the 2-2 draw, despite the positive performance of many Villans.
Based on a scale of 1 to 10 -- with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, here are the Aston Villa player ratings from the team's draw with Sunderland on Saturday at Villa Park. Vote for your Aston Villa Man of the Match below!
GK: Brad Guzan, Rating: 5
Guzan didn't have much to do in this match with Villa thoroughly on the front foot for long spells, but he unfortunately was forced to pick the ball out of his net twice. A great free kick by M'Vila and a cruelly deflected goal by Lens both beat Guzan, who only made one straightforward save. The American's 80-percent passing was a positive for him considering his poor distribution early this season.
RB: Alan Hutton, Rating: 7
Impressive display from Hutton in his first start of the season. Bombed down the right wing with great energy and created four chances while whipping in a total of eight crosses. Perhaps should've done more when given acres of space several times, late in the first half especially. Hutton will never be a dynamic player, but he's still a solid professional and reliable squad player. Saturday confirmed that.
CB: Micah Richards, Rating: 6
So unlucky to deflect a shot by Lens into his own net for the tying goal. While Richards again played pretty well on the whole, it seems like the Villa center backs have made a nasty habit of that early this season. Richards also got involved going forward too. He started the move for Villa's counter-attacking second goal, but he really should've scored as well. He had the right idea to get into the box in the 58th minute, but his run was too eager and he wasn't able to react to Sinclair's cross across the face of goal. Two yards from three points for Villa.
CB: Ciaran Clark, Rating: 5
Completely turned inside out by Lens for Sunderland's equalizer in a return to the old Ciaran Clark after the Irishman had made a good start to the Premier League season. The likely incoming addition of Joleon Lescott will put pressure on Clark to keep his place in the side, and he wasn't great on Saturday. His 12 clearances and five interceptions were fine, but he was yellow carded and was far from convincing when pressured by the Black Cats.
LB: Jordan Amavi, Rating: 6
Truly a mixed bag from Amavi in this match. He conceded the foul that Sunderland scored the opener from. But he made up for it by setting up Sinclair's second with a great cross into the six-yard box. In total, Amavi sent 11 crosses in and attempted a remarkable 11 take-ons while creating four chances from the left back position, all of which is a resounding positive to see compared to recent Villa left backs. But the young Frenchman certainly needs to improve his defending.
CDM: Carlos Sanchez, Rating: 5
Five tackles, three interceptions and 90-percent passing for "The Rock" on Saturday all would indicate he had a fine game. But it seems like his mistakes are magnified unlike any other player. Sanchez was dispossessed early in the second half by new Sunderland signing Ola Toivonen, who found Jeremain Lens to level the match. It's harsh because he does so many good things, but Sanchez needs to understand his role and be more safe with the ball for the entire match.
CM: Ashley Westwood, Rating: 7
Another quality outing by Westwood. He understands his role and capabilities perhaps better than any other Aston Villa player at the moment. Unlucky not to score late with a fierce volley into the ground that Pantilimon parried away. But seriously...how much longer do we have to watch Ashley Westwood take EVERY corner the exact same way with minimal success? Change it up occasionally. The driven ball is fine, but not EVERY time.
CM: Idrissa Gana Gueye, Rating: 6
Did a little bit of everything for Villa on Saturday, creating five chances with four successful take-ons, three interceptions, two cross and two shots. Gana doesn't exactly do anything spectacularly, but he certainly contributes to the cause. His run and ball to Amavi that led to Villa's second goal was brilliant, something that Villa midfielders haven't done much in recent years. Yes, his passing can be sloppy at times, but his drive and tackling make up for it most of the time.
RW: Leandro Bacuna, Rating: 6
Linked well with Hutton down the right. His stats were all well and good: 88-percent passing, three shots and three crosses completed, but this display doesn't really convince me that Bacuna is good enough offensively to warrant a starting spot in as much of an advanced role as he had in this match. Villa have more creative options, but Bacuna remains a solid squad player.
ST: Rudy Gestede, Rating: 5
Continues to struggle with all things passing and shooting -- a real issue for a striker. He's just a bit too one-dimensional with his aerial ability, which makes him a great option off the bench (see Bournemouth game), but not really worthy of a starting spot at the moment. He did, however, almost set up Westwood for a late goal. There's still belief that Gestede will come good, but it'd be worth seeing Libor Kozak given a chance soon in this role at some point.
LW: Scott Sinclair, Rating: 8
Sinclair is just a scoring machine right now. After his hat trick in the League Cup during the week, Sinclair bagged a brace against Sunderland with an early penalty and a poacher's goal right before halftime, reading Amavi's cross and rippling the roof of the net. It's great for Villa to have him in goal-scoring form, and his created chance at the death that Richards spurned was also a positive sign from the winger. Sinclair, a player who Villa need to score AND create goals this season, deserves a lengthy run in the team based on current form.
RW: Carles Gil, Rating: 6
Great to see Carles back in a Villa kit in the Premier League. It's been way too long. He showed glimpses of his potential with slick passing and movement, even though none of his dribbles came off and he was booked for diving in the box when he should've shot anyways. The biggest frustration was that it took him so long to enter the game. Someone please tell Tim Sherwood he has three substitutions per game and they can be made at any time.